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Best Food Dehydrators Reviewed & Tested

last updated Sep 11, 2019

We’ve been coming up with new and improved ways to prepare our food ever since the discovery of fire. In order to make a mark in this area, experts have created a wide range of kitchen appliances which help us during our culinary journey. One great example of this is the food dehydrator. Drying food is a way to preserve it to use for longer periods of time. It’s a beneficial method that also retains the bulk of the nutrients that make it healthy.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
Magic Mill MFD-6100
93.2/100 our score
Value
93
Ease of Use
93
Features
92
Versatility
95
Effectiveness
93
Magic Mill MFD-6100
Why is it better?

Drip tray keeps residue off of food and counter

Comes with high-quality oven mitts

Basic Design for easy use

Simple to clean

400-450 watts of power

1-year warranty

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Magic Mill MFD-6100
Test Winner: Magic Mill MFD-6100
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
4
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
40
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Taylor Belmer
By Taylor Belmer:

Get the most out of your food with a new food dehydrator. We update periodically to ensure that you always get the most up to date information about the top-selling products today! Check out added criteria, things to consider, and better readability throughout.

Sorting Options
Value Ease of Use Features Versatility Effectiveness By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Value
93 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Features
92 %
Versatility
95 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$128.84
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Value
93 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Features
92 %
Versatility
94 %
Effectiveness
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$89.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Value
93 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Features
92 %
Versatility
94 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$109.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Value
89 %
Ease of Use
94 %
Features
93 %
Versatility
93 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$249.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Value
94 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Features
90 %
Versatility
90 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$82.64
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Value
93 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Features
92 %
Versatility
91 %
Effectiveness
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$34.19
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Value
91 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Features
91 %
Versatility
90 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$59.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Value
92 %
Ease of Use
94 %
Features
90 %
Versatility
89 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$56.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Value
91 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Features
90 %
Versatility
91 %
Effectiveness
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$57.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Value
92 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Features
88 %
Versatility
89 %
Effectiveness
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$44.99

Top 10 Picks

1. Magic Mill MFD-6100

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Magic Mill MFD-6100 food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
93
Ease of Use
93
Features
92
Versatility
95
Effectiveness
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$128.84
Pros:

Drip tray keeps residue off of food and counter

Comes with high-quality oven mitts

Basic Design for easy use

Simple to clean

400-450 watts of power

1-year warranty

Cons:

The way it handles meat is average

The Magic Mill Pro is the first on the list that takes on much bigger portions. It’s also the first one to offer customization options with how you set the food.

Read more

Two Model Choices
You have a choice between the six stainless steel trays or the larger nine stainless steel trays. Same product, but with a much more intuitive design choice for smaller or larger kitchens.

Automatic Shut-Off Timer
This features an automatic shut-off feature and a timer. These functions are great for moments when you need to step away but don’t want the dehydrator running for too long.

Cost and Value
As long as you’re not buying this to put a lot of meat in it, then there is a tremendous value. It’s average priced and should be accessible in both versions.

2. Gourmia GFD1650B

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Gourmia GFD1650B food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
93
Ease of Use
93
Features
92
Versatility
94
Effectiveness
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$89.99
Pros:

Powered by 400 watts and can heat up to 158F

The digital thermostat is both informative and user-friendly in design

Multi-Use Tray Design

Oven Style

Cons:

The timer is capped at a max of 19 hours 30 minutes

Another big model on the list is the Gourmia GFD1650B, which is the size of a toaster oven. With all the power dedicated to this one unit, customers are sure to get the results they want at a respectable time.

Read more

Informative LCD Panel
A lot of the products in the industry stay away from giving the user heavy customization or information options. In this case, the GFD1650B is in a class of its own with 8 preset temperature settings and a countdown timer LCD panel.

Adjustable shelves
This Gourmia features six adjustable shelves. You can get nine adjustable shelves with the larger model. This is nice for shifting around different types of food within the machine.

Cost and Value
The price is about average, and the value is off the charts. You’ll have very few with this many customization features out of the box. Buyers that are going to use the digital features of this model will get the most use out of it. Even with the timer cap, there are thousands of useful recipes available to use.

3. Chefman 9 Tray

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Chefman 9 Tray food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
93
Ease of Use
93
Features
92
Versatility
94
Effectiveness
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$109.99
Pros:

Includes 9 BPA free trays

Has preset digital settings

Transparent door allows you to observe

19.5-hour countdown timer

Cons:

Some found the trays too flimsy

Some complaints about the door sticking

Chefman is one of the fastest-growing companies in terms of kitchen appliances. This brand provides you with the kitchen tools you need to make preparing food easier and more efficient. The Chefman 9 Tray is popular among both experienced chefs and amateurs thanks to its easy to read digital settings. One of its more popular features is the ability to watch your food dry through a transparent door, allowing you to monitor the process.

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Digital Settings
Regardless of your experience in the kitchen, the Chefman 9 has easy to read preset temperature settings and a timer to ensure your food is properly done. All you have to do is find the right setting and start.

Lots of Space
The Chefman 9 Tray is equipped with nine plastic adjustable trays. These trays are designed in a manner that permits you to dry a large variety of foods at the same time without mixing them, which is great for preparing more at a time.

Cost and Value
This comes in the mid-price range and offers a lot of space and a design that allows the maximum airflow possible. You also get a one-year warranty and access to videos and cookbooks.

4. Excalibur 3926TB

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Excalibur 3926TB food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
89
Ease of Use
94
Features
93
Versatility
93
Effectiveness
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$249.99
Pros:

Built like an industrial

Great customizing options lets you go beyond a normal

Easy to Use

Simple and efficient for dehydrating

Cons:

One of the most expensive on the list

Known around the industry as one of the best models that residential users can buy, the Excalibur 3926tb continues to impress. It has an impressive set of features, many of which are still ahead of its time.

Read more

Adjustable Thermostat
The set it and forget its products on this list are great, but they are also limited in what they can do with certain types of food. The 3926TB does away with that issue by introducing a thermostat that can be set from 102 – 165F.

Power & fan features
This Excalibur dehydrator runs on 600-watts and comes with a 7-inch fan to cool it down. There is also a 26-hour timer that is built-in and automatically shuts off or turns on when you set it to do so.

Cost and Value
This product would be further up the list if it wasn’t for the price, which is high. Buyers that use theirs multiple times a week will get some great value out of the box with this deal.
By itself, this unit could feed an entire family, and is a real powerhouse with any type of food. When the price isn’t a consideration, this is the absolute best you can get.

5. Nesco FD-75A

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Nesco FD-75A food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
94
Ease of Use
93
Features
90
Versatility
90
Effectiveness
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$82.64
Pros:

Blocks out harmful light using its opaque exterior

Comes with a 52-page recipe book, 2 fruit roll sheets and 3 jerky spice packets

Easy to Clean Functions

Efficient in size

Cons:

No timer

This is an incredibly popular model among hardcore food preservers. It does everything right and avoids tying itself to common equipment gimmicks.

Read more

The Placement Of The Fan Changed Things
Rather than putting their fan on the bottom like traditional models, they put it on top. Powered by a beastly 700 watts, it dries faster, better and more thorough than any other product on the list.

Adjustable features
This Nesco FD-75A comes with an adjustable thermostat that goes from 95-160 degrees Fahrenheit. The trays that come with this kit can expand from five to 12.

Cost and Value
Even with it being the top product, it’s also one of the lowest-priced available. This makes it even more valuable than it already is, and a prime target for beginners that want to try out food dehydration.

6. Chefman 5 Tray

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Chefman 5 Tray food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
93
Ease of Use
92
Features
92
Versatility
91
Effectiveness
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$34.19
Pros:

Ventilation

BPA-free

Can be used for a variety of foods

Easy to clean

Can stack up to 5 trays

Top vent helps even drying

Cons:

Can't hold as much as some others on this list

This Chefman five-tray is a device that has a lot of great reviews and is highly recommended due to the large variety of foods that can be cooked in it. This includes all types of meats, fruits, and vegetables and can help prepare food for your long trips outdoors. Plus, it doesn't take up too much space in your kitchen. Win!

Read more

Powerful Fan
This is equipped with a powerful motorized fan with ventilation, which favors the drying process. Moreover, the food will get a fast and even drying thanks to the top vent.

No Preservatives Needed
Unlike other preservation methods, this device removes water content from food during the drying process and lowers the risk of spoiling. Thanks to this style or preparing food, you don’t need to use any additives or preservatives.

Cost and Value
This machine was designed to last and comes from a brand that is known for the quality of its products. Furthermore, you can buy matching trays at a comparatively low price.

7. Presto 06301

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Presto 06301 food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
91
Ease of Use
93
Features
91
Versatility
90
Effectiveness
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$59.99
Pros:

Great airflow that dries food quicker

Can dry using temperatures up to 165F

Several Functions at your Finger Tips

Convenient to clean

Cons:

Advanced functions take some getting used to

Presto is the next model on our list that made hundreds of customers around the world happy. It added advanced features to an already excellent system and may have inspired some of the other modern designs in the food dehydration industry.

Read more

No Rotation Design
With the way they set up the bottom fan, you won’t have to worry about heavy maintenance. It provides consistent airflow and the best drying temperatures.

Included Trays
With this Presto 06301, you get six trays that expand to 12 when you need them to.

Cost and Value
You’re not going to spend a lot of money on this low priced product, an amazing feat since it has such great modern features. The value is solely in the hands of the user and how quickly they adapt to Presto’s system.

8. Nesco FD-61WHC

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Nesco FD-61WHC food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
92
Ease of Use
94
Features
90
Versatility
89
Effectiveness
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$56.99
Pros:

Comes with a jerky gun, 5 jerky spices/cures, and 3 tips

Also comes with more extras, including 2 clean screens, 2 fruit roll sheets, and a thorough recipe book

Easy to Use, for Beginners

Easy to Store

Cons:

No timer or on/off switch

Calling the Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster an all in one unit fits perfectly, with many of its features turning out to be unique to the model. They have already patented several of these features, and this could be the next big thing in the industry.

Read more

Revolutionary Time Saver
Their flow drying system is patented and dries food in a couple of hours rather than days. This puts it ahead of a lot of the major ones in the industry, with a design that will only improve over time.

Adjustable Thermostat
This Nesco FD-61WHC one is powered by a 500-watt fan. You can also adjust the thermostat on this food dehydrator.

Cost and Value
Priced to move, it is so low that there are only a couple of products that can match it in the same range. With all of the extras, the FD-61WHC is a premier kitchen accessory to own. The jerky and fruit roll-up set alone is worth purchasing the system for. With some minor adjustments to the control scheme, this could have easily been the #1 product on the list.

9. Hamilton Beach 32100A

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Hamilton Beach 32100A food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
91
Ease of Use
92
Features
90
Versatility
91
Effectiveness
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$57.99
Pros:

Comes with materials for making herbs and fruit rolls

Even when drying the airflow is continuous

Different Levels Available

Easy to Store

Cons:

Only has five trays

Hamilton Beach is one of the most well-known kitchen appliance brands in the industry and can be found in major retail outlets. Customers that are looking for a top-three product in multiple kitchen categories will always find Hamilton Beach included in the list.

Read more

Customer Service
The brand recognition helps out a lot in this department, leading any confused customer to have faith in dealing with their customer support line. That lifeline makes a difference between keeping a product and sending it back.

Auto Timer
Set the timer on this Hamilton Beach 32100A for up to 48 hours. You can set it to auto shut off or turn on depending on your needs. The 500-watts of power and five stackable trays will be fine the entire time that it is running.

Cost and Value
Like all Hamilton Beach products, the price is middle of the road. With only five trays total, the value will come from groups that don’t need bulk amounts done at one time.

10. NutriChef PKFD14BK

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
NutriChef PKFD14BK food dehydrator
Amazon Link
Value
92
Ease of Use
90
Features
88
Versatility
89
Effectiveness
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$44.99
Pros:

A foolproof method for food dehydration or preservation

Stackable trays and space-saving heating element makes it perfect for small kitchens

Controls temperature and prevents dryness

Easy to use

Cons:

No advanced features

NutriChef is one of the most well-known pieces of equipment in the industry when it comes to preserving food. It manages to preserve and dehydrate with some of the easiest settings possible.

Read more

User Friendly Out Of The Box
The NutriChefis a set it and forget it model with very little customization. Taking a few minutes to read the directions will give you the information needed to get started.

Trays
This NutriChef dehydrator comes with five trays. They are stacked to keep foods separated enough for air to get through and dry out the contents.

Cost and Value
Buyers will appreciate the low price of what could be considered a starter model. It’s everything you need to prepare your food correctly.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Value

We always say that price should never be the only criteria used to evaluate a product. However, we believe that price is the best area where someone doing a comparison should start. It wouldn’t make sense to compare two products that belong to two different price ranges. We always expect products that are more expensive to provide better value than those that are less expensive. However, this does not mean that more affordable products are not good.

We always start by placing products into different price ranges. Once we have done this grouping, we look at the extras that each product can offer. Products in the lower price range that have more features than others then make it into the list. We also do the same with products in the upper price range. If the product is expensive but doesn’t provide much value, we remove it from the list.

Ease of Use

You will mostly notice these are generally easy to use and there is really not that much difference between the various models on the market when it comes to how easy to use their products are. However, there are still a few things that separate one from the other: cooking the food evenly without you having to keep watching and switching the selves around. It must provide convenience.

Cleaning one should be an easy process too. How do we know if one model is easier to clean when compared to another? We look at the number of parts the product has. If more pieces can easily be washed in the dishwasher, it means that the owner will enjoy some convenience.

Features

In order to determine the convenience a user will enjoy, we look at the extra features one has when we create our list. Extra features usually mean more convenience, which is part of the value and can be used to differentiate products falling within the same price range. The extra features also determine how easy it will be to operate the dehydrator.

Controlling temperature is one of the most important features. So, in order to achieve the best results, it will be important for you to be able to adjust the temperature. If a dehydrator has an adjustable thermostat it is a good product for drying more than one type of food.

We also checked out if it has a timer. Food dehydration is a process that takes many hours, so it is easy to forget. When the dehydrator has a timer, you don’t need to remain apprehensive, it will tell you when you need to check the food or when it is ready.

Another feature we looked at when listing the top ten was whether the food dehydrator has an auto shut off mechanism. This is a feature which allows you to start the process of drying your food and then go do your other stuff or even go to sleep overnight knowing that when the food is ready, the machine will shut itself off.

Versatility

We took into consideration the versatility of each, too. This is important because variety is the spice of life! Or so they say. Either way, if your dehydrator is only good for drying one kind of food, you'll get bored of it pretty quickly.

This takes into consideration the size and layout of the dehydrator. Some are smaller with fewer racks, and therefore can only dry smaller foods. Whereas, larger dehydrators have room for larger slices of food and more variety of it at one time.

Effectiveness

While ease of use and other factors on this list are important, we believe that efficiency is high up there in criteria. What good is the unit if it doesn't properly and effectively dry your food? We made sure that this list of dehydrators not only performs well but does so effectively, meaning that it's easy to do and has a positive outcome.

An effective dehydrator will have more trays. The more trays that your machine has, the more even and consistent that the batch of food will be. With more trays, there’s more space for the food to spread out so that it’s not bunched up and can effectively dry.

Also, consider what you are going to be drying. For example, fruits and vegetables will dry differently than meat. Jerk-making requires a specific machine, whereas fruits and vegetables can dry pretty well in most machines.

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How To Make The Best Decision

Is it big enough? – There are small food dehydrators on the list, and there are also large ones. Some of the mid-sized models allow for expansion beyond the initial trays included. It’s always better to go one size bigger than what you want since you can always cook less in a big unit, but you can’t cook more in a small one. Get a big enough model for what you think it will be used for, that way you’ll never have to question the original purchase.

Other Factors to Consider

Style

The style does matter, and there are different kinds out there. Two styles out there are stacked dehydrators and box and shelf dehydrators. Here is a description of each:

Stacked dehydrator
These usually do not have an outer shell and are mostly made up of racks. Each of these racks stacks upon one another to trap the heat in. A fan is placed at the bottom to circulate air vertically. The benefits of these are that they take up little space. One disadvantage is that since they are smaller, the food is closer to the heating element and dries out faster than other machines.

Box and shelf dehydrators
These kinds of machines have an outer box shell and have shelves (trays). These work similarly to a toaster oven or electric oven. The trays insert into the box, and there is a fan at the back of the box. The hot air blows through the food rather than upward. The benefits of this kind of dehydrator are that there is better insulation and all of the trays are designed to take equal amounts of the heat. The disadvantage is that they can be bulky and take up a lot of space.

Size

Size often plays into the style of the food dehydrator. There isn't a right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing one by size, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Just because a dehydrator is large, doesn't mean that it is energy-efficient and doesn't mean that it works better than a smaller model. Depending on your food drying goals, a smaller one could work just as well for you. Especially if you do not have a large kitchen area to work with.

Often, stacked models are smaller machines, and they can keep the food pretty close to the heating element which will dry out the food quickly. So, you need to keep an eye on the food.
A larger unit can be bulky, taking up a lot of space. Regardless of the food volume, it may not be worth all of the space it takes up. So, it's important to consider the space you have to work with.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Can you ‘over dry” food?

a:

Yes, and it is more common than you think. The one-button push crockpots are built to keep this from happening, but even after long periods, it is inevitable. Food that’s overdone can quickly turn into free treats for the family pet. Ones with built-in timers would make sense in this case, but some of them can be limiting. Always check your recipe with the top features of the device you’re purchasing. There is no point in purchasing one with a timer if its limit is 20 hours but your recipe calls for double that.

q: How beginner friendly is it?

a:

Food preservation is really simple, which is why the one-button models are so popular. You don’t need to read a history book to understand how to dry food properly. Just a little bit of light reading with the included instructions should give you all the information you need to get started. Low maintenance is one of the biggest reasons to own one. There are thousands of recipes available for free, and the only thing you have to worry about getting right is the time and temperature.

q: Why does my food come out bad?

a:

No one is going to become a master overnight, and inevitably there will be a small learning curve. Even the one-button systems have rules to follow, so when in doubt, always read the manual. A lot of the listed models come with their own cookbooks. But be wary of temperature requirements for custom recipes, and always adjust when you feel it’s necessary. The only way to perfect your new appliance is by taking it out for a spin.

q: Are the trays really dishwasher safe?

a:

Most are but always check the full feature list. Putting a tray in there that wasn’t built for dishwashing cycles could warp it to the point of uselessness. Replacement trays are easy enough to find, but a pain since they usually sideline your entire unit until it’s replaced. If possible, always have backup trays in your home for emergency use.

q: What are the best foods to dehydrate?

a:

You can dehydrate a host of foods including meat, vegetables, and fruits. Some foods like fruits may need to be soaked in a solution such as water with lemon juice to reduce bacteria and also keep the color. Also, bleach vegetables for short periods of time before dehydrating them to ensure that they do not lose their color. It also helps get rid of illnesses that are foodborne.

q: How much does one of these cost in terms of electricity?

a:

As an appliance that keeps on for long periods of time, it is easy for people to be worried that it may be using lots of power. You can calculate how much yours is using by taking the wattage of your dehydrator and multiplying it by the hours it takes to dry your food and then multiply this answer by the cost of a Kilowatt-hour in the area where you live. Practically, if yours runs on 500 watts and you need 10 hours to dry your food in an area where a kWh costs 10 cents you can calculate the power you use in the following manner: (500 watts x 10 hours)/ 1000 = 5kWh and then 5 x $0.10= $0.50.

q: What safety tips should I follow when using one?

a:

Most use electricity and you need to take the kind of precautions you do when using any electrical appliance. Ensure that the unit is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Never handle the plugs with wet hands. If the appliance is not working properly, don’t try to repair it yourself unless you are a qualified artisan. Also, ensure that it is clean before using it to ensure there is no food contamination.

q: Why do I need to clean this?

a:

Food can easily get trapped in your dehydrator. Also, some foods have a lingering smell, ensuring that the appliance is clean will help remove this smell so that future batches will not be impacted. Keeping it clean will also ensure that you get rid of the drippings that happen while the food dries ensuring that your appliance is working for a longer time.

q: At what temperature do you dehydrate raw food?

a:

The idea behind dehydrating food is that you are not cooking it. Different foods can be dehydrated at different temperatures. Check out the instructions which come with yours. However, most foods will dry at about 130 °F or 54 °C. Meat normally requires higher temperatures to remove pathogens.

q: What’s the difference between a solar food dehydrator and drying in the sun?

a:

The difference is that your solar food dehydrator will dry your food much faster. Also, it can control the temperature and keep the food protected while it is drying. The advantage of this method is that you can use it in places where you don’t have access to electricity, and above all, it is environmentally friendly as the power that drives it does not produce any greenhouse gases when being generated.

This would be a great appliance for someone who lives in countries where there are lots of possibilities to grow food but no electricity to run appliances. It will ensure that the food doesn’t dry in the open where it can gather dust.

Sources

  1. Mother Earth News, Choosing a Food Dehydrator,
  2. Consumer Reports, Food Dehydrator Time,